World Bank Report Says Increasing Number of Girls Affected by HIV/AIDS, Announces Three-Year Initiative
The World Bank on Tuesday in an HIV/AIDS Program of Action report said girls are "increasingly falling victim" to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, often because they are unable to refuse sex, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. The report said young girls in developing countries are especially at risk of contracting the virus and the ratio of HIV cases among children in the "hardest-hit regions" is about five or six girls for every one boy, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. Girls ages 15 to 19 often are forced or coerced through money and gifts into sexual relationships, the report says, adding that marriage also does not provide protection because young girls cannot negotiate safe sex. The report concludes that HIV/AIDS prevention should be every country's highest priority. The World Bank on Tuesday also announced a three-year initiative to fight the spread of the virus by combating HIV/AIDS-related stigma, discrimination and denial, according to World Bank Director of HIV/AIDS Programs Debrework Zewdie. The program will aim to improve ineffective government anti-AIDS efforts, advance the distribution of aid and lessen the HIV/AIDS burden on inadequate health systems, the AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 5/17).
A kaisernetwork.org HealthCast of a consultation meeting discussing the Program of Action report is available online.